When I awake, I've been moved. I hesitantly sit up, but the excruciating pain I felt when I last became conscious is gone. I lean against the wall and look around.
Across the room, I see another bed, and I notice that it is host to Marley who is sleeping. Looking around the other way, I see a door leading off into the rest of the building. There is a large window to my right, letting golden light stream in, and a table to my left, it's surface bare and shining.
"Look who's finally awake." Muses a voice. I look up again to see Marley stretching leisurely. "Glad that you finally decided to join the world of the living." She teases.
"Where are we?" I question bluntly, skipping formalities. Marley snorts.
"Nice to see you to. We're in Depermar."
"What!?" I gasp, taken aback. "They let us come here?"
"Well, let is a strong word." Marley mutters. "They are accommodating us, whether they know it or not. We didn't have any other choice. If you are shocked that we come here, your father will be to, at least we hope. We might by some time to escape."
"Yeah, I see your point, but if we get caught here, we'll have even less time, because the king of Depermar will either kill us immediately or ransom us back to Argratent."
"It's a risk we will just have to take. Besides, Matthew is a citizen here. If push comes to shove, his birthrights will let him be heard, at very least. There is nothing else we can do."
I sigh and look back to the window. "At least tell me that we are in a somewhat hidden house." I groan, burying my face in my hands. Marley doesn't respond. I glance up to see a sheepish look on her face. I groan again.
"Well..." She starts, looking down at her hands.
"We're at my house." A voice pips from behind me. I spin around to come face-to-face with Matthew. A grin is spread across his face and he is wearing a suit of rudy fabric, and I notice that the color oddly high-lights his red-blonde mixed hair. My eyes are drawn around his face and hair, finally freed completely from their mud.
"Your house?" I inquire, startled. "I thought you said you were an indentured slave." I frown, looking down at his suit. "And your clothes don't agree with that either. Why did you lie?"
'Well, I am a servant, of sorts. Depermar is, not to be rude, but Depermar is richer, you might say, than your kingdom. We live by different rules and our definitions of such words are more light. Even the servants get good housing and proper feeding. Especially if you are the king's messenger." He adds the last bit sheepishly, his tone matching Marley's face. I sigh in exasperation. "I didn't tell you who I really was because the king would have had my head if I had. I wasn't quite spying, but I was sent to gather information. My mission was to find out important things about Argratent and report back, but I got ambushed on the border, where you found me. I didn't see my assultants, so I didn't want to tell you anything in case you were with them. I realized that you weren't, but right after that, your brother showed up and you were wisked away, and soon after the men who I now believe were my real attackers showed up and took us back too. As you well know, you've been asleep since then, so I haven't had the chance to tell you."
I look at him in shock for a moment before looking back at Marley. "Did you know all this?"
"Some of it. He wouldn't tell until you woke up." She replies, glancing up. "I understand why he hesitated to tell us though. Even if we weren't with the attackers, it doesn't take much to get information out of someone, or, if they refuse, to kill them or torture them continually. Just saying."
I turn my attention back on Matthew. "I can't really blame you about lies. After all, I said that my father was Lord Gretum instead of Leopold. It appears that we both down-graded ourselves to the other." I laugh. "Nevertheless, what will the king here really do if he finds out about us?"
"I will welome you humbly for the time being, seeing as Leopold seems to have lost his wits." A large man with a rudy and gold Depermar uniform states, entering through the same door that Matthew came through. Charles strides in behind the man, and for the first time I see respect in his eyes and realize that he is humbled by the huge man's generosity. As a random thought, I wonder why both the king's are so large...
"I... I... Thank you, King..." I stutter, awed by his presence.
The king laughs. "I'm sure you've heard of me, but I doubt Leopold ever mentioned my name. I am Bane, king of Depermar, though you already know the second part." Bane recites, smiling. "I already know who you are, Saraphine, daughter of the king of Argratent."
I look at Matthew in amazement before my gaze shifts to my brother. Charles strides over to my bed and crouches down, whispering softly in my ear.
"Saraphine, King Bane is so big..." he sounds childish and I laugh. Amusement sparkles in his eyes, but it is replaced with seriousness a moment later. "He reminds me of Father. He's just the same size and his eyes are the same." I look back at Bane.
"Not to be rude," I start, "But are you, by an odd chance, well, related to Leopold?" I inquire awkwardly, encouraged by my brothers quick, kid-like nods. Bane's eyes get dark.
"Yes. He's my brother."